Discussion Questions for “The Hunger Games”

Write a paragraph or two in response to each of the following cluster of questions:

The significant first step in any hero’s journey is the Call to Adventure. This call is often answered by the hero’s initial refusal, but soon after – sometimes with the mentor’s help – the hero accepts the call. How do these early stages of the hero’s quest play out in The Hunger Games? Pay attention to the little details here. For example, why would be significant that Katniss is not selected at the Reaping but volunteers for as Tribute to the Hunger Games?

In addition to the all-important hero, one of the other key figures in a hero’s quest narrative is the mentor. Who serves as mentor to Katniss? How would you describe this character? Does our hero’s relationship with the mentor change over time? If so, how and what is the result of that change?

Another typical early step in the hero’s journey is receiving a talisman. This talisman is a symbolic and sometimes magical object that holds special significance to the hero. It often helps them along their journey in various ways. Is Katniss given a talisman? By whom (be specific here) and what is the significance of that offering? When and how does this talisman help our hero (again, be specific)?

As the hero’s journey moves into the realm of the unknown, the hero assembles friends and helpers along the way while confronting many challenges and temptations. What friends or helpers does Katniss discover? What specific challenges does she face and what personal, heroic attributes does she use to overcome these challenges?

The final achievement of the goal in a hero’s quest is usually called the Ultimate Boon. This boon is often not quite what the hero expected in some ways, and arriving at this point of victory generally requires one Final Test of Worthiness. After having surmounted all the earlier challenges to her intelligence, strength, and courage, what is the final moral test that Katniss must pass? Once she passes, what is unexpected about her Ultimate Boon, and what is its larger significance?

Extra Credit: Why do you think the authorities insist on describing Katniss and Peeta as “star-crossed lovers”? Where have you heard this phrase before? Where? Is that story the same as this one? Why or why not?

Published by Chuck Caruso

writer of dark fiction (crime, horror & western noir), literary & textual scholar (american gothic, noir, po-co, sf), and cultural critic

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